Department of Agriculture

  • The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has warned Ireland’s nitrates derogation is now under threat because of poor water quality.

    Nitrates derogation is part of the nitrates directive, which has been in place since 1991.

    The nitrates directive aims to protect water quality from pollution by agricultural sources and to promote the use of good farming practice.

    However, the latest EPA report, shows that approximately 269 waterways in Ireland, including rivers, coastal areas, canals, estuaries and lakes deteriorated in quality between 2015 and 2017.

    The report points the figure of blame at human activity, and in particular, at the presence of nitrogen and phosphorus from farming which are used in artificial fertilizers.

    Gerry Loftus of the INHFA says this latest report comes as no great surprise to the organisation who says this has been happening in the intensively farmed areas in particular over the last three years.

  • The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is reminding farmers that 2018 Nitrates Derogation applications can now be submitted on line. The closing date for applications is 20th April.

    Farmers are advised to contact their agricultural advisor to determine if they should avail of this facility.

    Farmers who applied for a Derogation last year(2017), are reminded that they must also submit fertiliser accounts by 20th April.

    End of year Nitrogen and Phosphorus statements (N&P statements) for 2017 are available on the Department’s online systemwww.agfood.ie. or by phoning 053-9163444.

    Farmers not already registered for agfood.ie can do so by logging onto www.agfood.ie and clicking the 'Register' button. To register a mobile phone number for future SMS text alerts log on to https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/mobileupdates/ to access the sign-on form, or alternatively contact the regional office.

  • Beef slaughtering operations remain suspended at major meat plants this evening, ahead of talks tomorrow aimed at resolving the ongoing dispute with farmers.

    Meat Industry Ireland, which pulled out of planned discussions last Monday, says it WILL attend the meeting at the Department of Agriculture in Dublin.

    Minister Michael Creed is appealing to all sides to enter the talks in good faith, claiming now is the time for people to take a step back from entrenched positions.

    The row over beef prices has seen production stopped at many factories due to blockades by farmers.

  • There's a call on the Agriculture Minister to use all resources available at today's talks to resolve the beef dispute.

    The Beef Plan Movement is making the call as it prepares to enter face to face negotiations with Meat Industry Ireland.

    Many factories have stopped production due to picketing by farmers who are unhappy over prices for their meat.

  • The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed has announced an extension to the closing dates for Beef Environmental Efficiency Policy applications.

    BEEP applicants now have until the 8 November to weigh their animals, and weight data is to be submitted to the ICBF by 5pm on 15th of November.

    The Department will pay €40 per pair of animals to applicants who comply with the requirements.

    Eligible animals for the scheme must be born between 1 July 2018 and 30 June 2019

    So far, weight data in respect of some 350,000 cow/calf weights have been returned to the ICBF.

  • The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D., has given an update in relation to online applications for the 2018 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS).

    The Minister says “Online applications offer a range of benefits for farmers and also help the Department to issue these vital payments more efficiently. He said he is delighted to see that a large number of farmers have already applied online since I announced the early opening of the 2018 application period.  Almost 35,000 farmers have already made their online applications, compared to a total of just 21,000 applications received at this stage last year.”

    The Minister added “In order to support farmers in applying online, the Department has been rolling out a range of technical supports for farmers. This will ensure that all farmers can access these vital financial supports.”

    Continuing, Minister Creed said “Staff from my Department are available to meet with farmers on a one-to-one basis in various locations throughout the country to assist them in making their applications. These clinics have proven very successful to date and farmers can sit down with an official from my Department and make their online BPS or Transfer of Entitlements applications on the spot. Already over one fifth of the small minority of farmers who applied in paper format last year have made the transition to an online application. It is important to ensure that this momentum is now maintained, and the 1 to 1 clinics offer farmers the opportunity to make the move to online efficiently.”

    In the coming week clinics will be available in Buncrana, Ballybofey, Roscommon, Sligo, Rosscarbery, Fermoy, Dungarvan, Bunclody, and Ballinasloe. A full list of all the clinics over the coming weeks is available on the Department’s website at:

    https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/bpsonlineclinics2018/

    Should farmers wish to contact the Department in relation to their online application they can do so at:

    • 076 1064424 in relation to queries on registering for www.agfood.ie – for example queries on lost passwords, how to register etc., or
    • 076 1064420 in relation to queries on actually completing the BPS application once registered on www.agfood.ie or to enquire about the one-to-one clinics.

     

  • Department of Agriculture officials are meeting with the main farmers co-ops later today to discuss the ongoing fodder crisis.

    Yesterday evening, the Agriculture Minister Michael Creed announced a national review of fodder supplies.

    It follows months of wet weather, that have left farmers in many areas low on animal feed.

    Minister Creed says his department may consider importing fodder if required.

    The Minister said officials from his Department met with Teagasc and the main co-ops last week, and will meet again today following a difficult weekend.

    He said significant rainfall over the weekend in many areas of the country has created additional challenges for Irish farmers dealing with what has already been a difficult spring.

    A register is also being established by Teagasc for farmers who may have additional fodder, with the agency saying they want to mobilise any fodder reserves to help farmers in need.

  • Gardaí and the Department of Agriculture searched farms in five counties this morning as part of an investigation into the tampering of identification passports and microchips of horses presented for slaughter.

    The Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, assisted by officials from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, conducted planned searches at locations in Roscommon, Leitrim, Sligo, Westmeath and Kilkenny.

    Seven sites were searched, including farms, houses and a commercial premises.

    The searches are part of an ongoing investigation being conducted by the Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation into offences of deception pursuant to Section 6 of the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud) Offences Act, 2001 surrounding fraudulent practices regarding tampering of identification passports and microchips of horses presented for slaughter in this jurisdiction.

    The operation is supported by officers from the Criminal Assets Bureau, Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau and Garda National Cyber Crime Bureau.

    Earlier this year the discovery of horses with multiple microchips at an abattoir in the Co Kilkenny area led to the Department of Agriculture’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) being called in.

  • An interim scheme needs to be put in place for farmers who are coming out of the AEOS scheme and cannot enter GLAS.

    That's according to Mayo-based Sinn Fein Senator Rose Conway-Walsh who raised the issue this week at a meeting of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture.

    Department officials confirmed that, for farmers in this position, there will not be a scheme in place until after 2021.

    Senator Conway-Walsh says it's unfair to leave these farmers for two years without a scheme, facing a significant drop in income, and she's calling on the Agriculture Minister to put an interim scheme in place for those leaving AEOS that were excluded from GLAS.

  • High Court actions taken by a number of meat factories against protesting beef farmers have been discontinued, court documents lodged last week show.

    Other factories are expected to end their pursuit of legal remedies in the coming days and weeks.

    The Irish Independent reports that two processors, Kepak and Anglo Beef Processing Ireland, have both filed a Notice of Discontinuance in their High Court proceedings against farmers after protests at their factories ended last week.

    They were two of a number of factories nationwide which sought legal action after protests disrupted meat production at their plants, leading to thousands of people being laid off work.

    The protests at factory gates were stood down last week following marathon talks at the Department of Agriculture between processors and farmers' groups.

    The agreement will see increased prices for beef farmers and reform of the sector but was due to come into effect once all protests ended.

  • The Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed today announced that he has allocated €4.25 million to a new Fodder Import Support measure.  

    The Minister says the measure builds on a range of supports that he has  already put in place

    It will operate through the Co-operatives/registered importers and will cover forage imported from 12th August 2018 to 31st December 2018 and will be subject to EU State Aid rules.

    Participation will be straightforward for any farmer who contacts a participating Co-op/registered importer and purchases fodder.

    He says his department will subsequently reimburse the Co-op/ importer with a contribution towards the cost of transport.

    Application forms and terms and conditions are made available through the Co-ops/registered importers shortly and will also be available on the Department’s website at https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/farmerschemespayments/fodderimportsupportmeasureautumn2018/

  • Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed today announced that the deadline for submission of data for Farm Improvement Plans in Knowledge Transfer Groups will be extended by two weeks until 14th August, 2018. The 31st July deadline for holding meetings of KT Groups remains in place.

    Minister Creed commented “following on from discussions with key stakeholders, I have decided to extend the period for Knowledge Transfer Group facilitators to submit completed Farm Improvement Plans under the Knowledge Transfer Programme.  In particular, this extension has arisen on foot of concerns expressed in relation to the amount of resources currently being dedicated by advisory services to assisting farmers in dealing with the current weather conditions.”

    Minister Creed added “this extension will enable advisors and vets to benefit from extra time to finalise actions for their Knowledge Transfer Groups and to progress the outstanding work carried out to date under the scheme. In turn, this allows farmers to derive maximum benefit from the Knowledge Transfer Programme.”

    The Minister also urged all participants in Knowledge Transfer Groups to submit their Farm Improvement Plan data as soon as possible.  Processing will begin on cases submitted by the original 31st July deadline in order to ensure that any impact on payment timelines is minimised.

  • The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed today announced that advance payments under year 2 Sheep Welfare Scheme have commenced on time this week to all eligible farmers.  The Minister confirmed the rate for the advance payment was again set at 85%. 

    A total of €15.1 million is now issuing to some 18,600 farmers.

    The Minister said: “The scheme, which was a key commitment in the Programme for Partnership Government, reflects the commitment of the Government to the sheep sector in Ireland, and will make an important contribution to the sustainability of the sheep sector”.

    Minister Creed urged any farmers with outstanding queries to respond to the Department immediately in order to facilitate payment.

    The Minister concluded by saying:

    “Year three of the Scheme will be opening in the coming weeks and my Department will be in contact with farmers shortly to advise them of this.  At that stage, there will also be an opportunity for new entrants to the sector to join the scheme.”

     

     

  • Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine Michael Creed announced today that he has extended the duration of both the Fodder Import and Fodder Transport support measures for an additional week. These measures which were scheduled to conclude on Monday April 30th will now run until Monday 7th May.

    The Minister said ''While the weather has improved and grass growth continues to improve significantly, there are farmers in some parts of the country who still need to locate fodder for their animals. Having reviewed the situation and listened to the views of members of the representative fodder group I established in March, I have decided that extending the closing date for the two measures for one further week is appropriate”.

    Demand for fodder has reduced significantly. However, there remain some areas where land is not yet sufficiently dry to graze livestock and there is still a short term demand for fodder.

    Concluding, Minister reaffirmed that ‘these measures are effectively addressing issues around fodder availability”.

    The Minister reminded farmers that the animal welfare emergency assistance continues to operate where animal welfare is seriously at risk via the emergency helpline numbers – Call Save  0761 064408 or phone 01 6072379.

     

  • Michael Creed, Minister for Agriculture, Food & the Marine, has issued a strong warning to farmers and their advisors, of the following in relation to agricultural and eligible forestry land which is burnt illegally during the closed season – i.e. 1st March to 31st August:

    If you burn land after the 1st March:

    • You risk prosecution
    • Such land is not eligible for payment under the Basic Payment Scheme and other area-based schemes;
    • Inclusion of illegally burnt land in the 2018 Basic Payment Scheme application may result in reduced payment and penalties under this scheme and the other area-based schemes, e.g. Areas of Natural Constraints Scheme;
    • Illegal burning can also render the land of your neighbours ineligible for payment;
    • Where it is identified that lands were burnt during the closed season this may result in such land being inspected by Department officials.

     

    The Minister concluded; “Both farmers and the wider public, whether it be at work or in enjoying the countryside, should at this time of year be mindful  of the damage caused by burning and should take appropriate care”

     

  • The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine has confirmed access to the Japanese market for Irish sheep meat.

    Minister Michael Creed said the deal was ‘agreed in principle’ during a Trade Mission to Tokyo last month and that an export certificate as proposed by my Department will take effect from next Friday 19 July.

    According to CSO trade statistics, total agri-food exports to Japan in 2018 amounted to €115 million, double the level of exports in 2016.

    Minister Creed said that the trade deal was a ‘strong endorsement of Irish food safety and quality credentials’ and thanked Japanese officials for the rapid conclusion of the formalities of sheep meat access.

    Details will be confirmed to industry shortly via a Trader Notice.

  • The Department of Agriculture was " slow in responding to the present fodder crisis". This was admitted yesterday by the Minister of State at the Dept of Housing Planning and Local Government, John Paul Phelan when he attended yesterday’s monthly meeting of Mayo county council.

    Minister Phelan was in Aras an Chontae to address the councillors on developments within his own department, issues related to housing , planning and local government, but was in his own words somewhat “ambushed” by councillors who took the opportunity to discuss the national fodder crisis with him.

    At the start of yesterday’s meeting Fianna Fail councillor Damien Ryan called for standing orders to be suspended to allow debate on the fodder crisis and his proposal was supported by the councillors present.

    Close to 30 councillors then gave their view of the crisis and possible solutions to it, to and asked Minister Phelan to have their views conveyed to Minister Creed.

    In response to the councillors’ contributions, Minister Phelan, a Kilkenny native, agreed that the impact of the fodder shortage was nationwide and severe and said the weather is dictating the problem and how long it will now remain a problem. He did admit however, that in his opinion, the dept of Agriculture was slow in responding to the crisis.

  • Over 1200 farmers are expected to attend the Irish Farmers Journal Beef Summit in Co Galway next week.

    The Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed, representatives from the Department of Agriculture, Bord Bia, Teagasc, and Meat Industry Ireland are among the speakers who will address the conference at the Shearwater Hotel in Ballinasloe next Thursday 9th May.

    The summit is being held at a time when the Irish suckler beef industry is at a critical juncture, with many farmers looking at alternative options of farming.

    The Irish Farmers Journal says the event will bring togther Ireland's beef industry policymakers and power players, and will hep farmers make plans for the future.

     

  • FODDER

    The Irish Natura & Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) are to hold a protest to highlight the need for a fodder aid scheme that will deliver for farmers who are experiencing fodder shortages.

    Gerry Loftus of the INHFA outlined how the Minister has ignored the principal recommendation of the stakeholders committee which was for a meal voucher.

    While Mr. Loftus said the transport subsidy “was also recommended”, he said its restrictive nature has ensured it will “not deliver for most farmers”.

    The INHFA decision which was taken by its national council, will involve a protest at the Department of Agriculture Offices in Drumshanbo, Co Leitrim on Monday morning at 10.30am.

  • The dispute between the Department of Agriculture and local Knackeries, which has seen knackeries across the country close their gates this week, will have major environmental and public health impacts, as well as causing extra stress for the local farming community.

    That's according to Roscommon  FG Councillor Liam Callaghan.

    Up to 40 knackeries across the country - including Tubbercurry-based Maloney & Matthews which covers Mayo and Sligo - closed their gates on Tuesday morning, after talks with the Department broke down the previous evening.

    The knackeries claim they're working at a loss, which is no longer sustainable.

    Councillor Liam Callaghan says the closures are causing great concern , as farmers have no place to dispose of dead animals, and he's calling on the Department of Agriculture to resume talks with the Animal Collectors Association as soon as possible.